Business News Thu, 1 Mar 2018

GRA storms shops in Accra to inspect excise tax stamps; defaulters to be sanctioned

The Ghana Revenue Authority has reiterated its earlier threat to seize tobacco, alcoholic and non-alcoholic products on the markets without the excise tax stamp.

To reinforce its commitment to this course, members of the authority visited several retail shops and marts Thursday morning to inspect and monitor the compliance levels of these shops as far as the fixing of hologram stamps on their products are concerned.

Manufacturers and importers of excisable products are expected to fix hologram stamps on their products before they are sold to consumers, a directive detailed in the Excise Tax Stamp Act 2013 (Act 873).

Briefing the media before the tour, the Commissioner-General of the Ghana Revenue Authority, Emmanuel Kofi Nti said the policy will also help to address the introduction of counterfeit products on the Ghanaian market and enable government benefit from the excise tax.

He was optimistic, the intense public education given by the GRA on the role of stakeholders in the implementation process will help the public to understand its importance and co-operate with GRA.

A visit to the Oxford Street Mall in Osu however showed most locally produced alcoholic beverages were without the stamp.

Foreign products including tobacco and alcoholic wines on the other hand had the labels.

Commenting on the development, Chief Revenue Officer for GRA, Kwabena Apau Anto said local manufacturers will enjoy a three month grace period to enable them label their products before putting it on the Ghanaian market.

According to him, GRA is currently giving away free stamps to retailers and manufacturers for six months, after which the stamps will be sold.

“People think we are not serious about this exercise but we are. Inspection starts today and anyone who is caught defaulter will either have their products seized or be imprisoned for a period of five years. Now, all you have to do as a retailer is to write to the Ghana revenue authority requesting for the number of stamps you need and it will be sent to you.

Since the exercise is ongoing at the various harbors, products coming in are already labelled. We just need our local manufactures to take this serious and come on board so we can generate enough revenue for the country.”

Some retailers who were unhappy with the exercise expressed their displeasure, their concerns being that they were not informed as far as the directive is concerned and hence the continuous sale of products without the stamps. They pleaded for more time to get their products stamped.

Source: www.ghanaweb.com